SAMOHI —Head Coach Rob Duron could easily be pointing fingers.
His Santa Monica High School baseball team is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The latest setback came Tuesday against Ocean League rival Hawthorne, but the straight-shooting coach is reluctant to assess blame to his players.
He could point out that his offense has scored just eight runs during the slide. He could blame a starting rotation that has yet to find a second starter behind the staff ace. He could even single out his ace, Tyler Skaggs, who has failed to win a single game this season.
But he isn’t.
Instead, the second-year coach is squarely placing the blame on himself.
“I’m just not doing a good enough job coaching these guys,” Duron said. “I guess we’ll just have to stick to the fundamentals and hope we can come out of this.”
His Vikings (4-6 overall, 0-1 in Ocean League play) will get a chance to end the slide today against Hawthorne at home. This will be the last game the two teams play against each other this season. Noah Tillipman will take the mound for the Vikings.
Duron said there are benefits to playing a team a second time, but admitted that it could go both ways. The Vikings went undefeated in Ocean League play last season and Duron believes his team has a bit of a target on their backs. He’s afraid that the loss to open the league season will show other teams that the Vikings are vulnerable this time around.
To avoid that sort of let down, Duron said his team has to develop an attitude much like last season when the squad felt it could compete with anybody. He feels his players are starting to get down on themselves and wants to instill a killer instinct in them.
If that’s to happen, it will have to begin at the plate.
“We’re not hitting,” Duron said. “it’s that simple.”
He said that some of the players have been prone to lowering their hands at the plate, resulting in a high number of pop ups. He and his staff are addressing it and hope it will remedy itself with time.
Winning a couple of ball games won’t hurt either, Duron said.
“I don’t know where that attitude is coming from,” he said during a break in classes. “It’s my job to figure it out.”
He did praise shortstop Ricky Gomez for his work at the plate and hopes the rest of his hitters will come around with a little instruction and a touch of determination.
While he stopped short of saying that good can come of this losing streak, he did see a silver lining.
“When you lose five in a row, there isn’t a whole lot working,” Duron said. “This is what they call character building time.”